In order to induce subscription to the loan, the subscribers were to be incorporated by the name of the Governor and Company of the Bank of England. The Bank was given exclusive possession of the government's balances, and was the only limited-liability corporation allowed to issue bank notes. The lenders would give the government cash (bullion) and issue notes against the government bonds, which can be lent again. The £1.2m was raised in 12 days; half of this was used to rebuild the navy."
So what IS money?
Throughout all history the most reviled have been the banks and the debtors. To be a debtor is almost equivalent to sin. We loath debt, and pity those who find themselves in debt, as we revile those that fall into debt through stupidity, gambling, living beyond their means. The debtors prison was a hellhole - unless you were rich. We hate the money-lenders - the banks - because we are tied to them from birth to the grave, and their whim can make or ruin us, help us achieve our dreams, or cast us out onto the streets. In France the concept of making interest as a money-lender was once a criminal offense. In biblical stories, Shakespeare, fact and fiction, the money lender is evil. But the debtor is fallen also.
There is a concept that we are born in debt - in debt to our parents for giving us life. A debt that can be paid only through our children.
Debt has been given spiritual gravitas - we owe our lives to the gods, to be paid with living sacrifices. (Debts, incidentally, that can never be paid because the gods already have everything.) Only our eventual death somehow clears the debt of life.
But still - what the hell IS money?
We now live in an age where the richest 85 people in the world have as much of this 'money' as the poorest 3.6 billion - that's half the world! And if money really IS just an IOU, what does that actually mean? They are hoarding IOUs? To what end? How can the economy work if those IOUs aren't actually in circulation? In this instance they have created a kind of meta-layer over humanity, where they are beyond debt, and thereby not subject to the same laws as anybody else - but the knock-on to the rest of us is immense, because the truth is their understanding of what money is is actually flawed, and based - as we saw earlier - on the pseudo-anthropological notion of a barter system that never existed.
The more you look, the more you read, the more you see that things we take for granted are built on mythology. Different currencies operated across empires, and certain of them remained a spoken currency long after that civilization had ended - in which case it became a symbolic currency only. A donkey is worth 125 denarii, for example, but the term is reduced to an idea of measurement, rather than the 'actual' Roman coin the concept is based up. There is not a tribal culture surviving in it's natural state that operates under anything remotely like our global economy, or the fictional barter-based system that supposedly spawned it. Mesopotamian money was not used in the ways we might expect - certainly nothing like we see it today. Often money was the domain of the temple, from which the palace pinched the concept - the ruler becoming like a living god who (like the gods) also had everything, and could grant (and often did) freedom of all debts to his or her people. We were indebted to them from birth too.
Numerous accounts exist of lives being saved, and the saved man demanding to be given a gift. The man who saved him might exclaim "but you should give ME a gift! I saved YOU!" Such stories confused many a Victorian evangelist or adventurer. But to be saved is a life debt, and unless you are freed of that debt you are a slave to the man who saved you. It is honourable, therefore, to give the saved man a gift, rather than demand payment. To free him. This is NOT traditional barter! And isolated societies exist by having a central store which belongs to everybody. In such tight societies it would be frowned on to want more than anybody else, and you would be punished if you were caught steeling. Incredibly elaborate systems evolve, but they are built mostly on fair-mindedness and need, and currency tends to evolve around sex and death - and, of course, debt.
I've been trying to understand what I can. I'm reading lots, and learning. But I still have no idea what money really is - other than having a hunch that we have built for ourselves an elaborate trap, a perpetual cycle that keeps us in eternal bondage...